What to see in Accademia Gallery: A detailed guide to the top artworks

Accademia GalleryWhat to see in Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery’s reputation precedes it. While the museum houses hundreds of pieces of art, there are some in particular that deserve special recognition, not just for their rich details, but for the impact they have left behind on the art world. 

Apart from its 15th and 16th-century artworks collection, the Accademia Gallery also displays Tuscan paintings from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. You will be able to view the works of Giotto, Paolo Uccello, and Andrea del Sarto as well as attend the various temporary exhibits and educational programs it hosts. The most famous work at the Accademia Gallery is Michelangelo’s David, the stunning lifelike sculpture crafted by renowned artist Michelangelo. 

what to see at accademia gallery - david by michelangelo
what to see at accademia gallery - rape of the sabines

Rape of the Sabines

Artist: Giambologna 

Year: 1582

Location: Hall of Colossus

The Rape of Sabines is widely regarded as Giambologna’s masterpiece. Giambologna was greatly inspired by Michelangelo, and towards the end of the sixteenth century, he became famous for his intertwined figural compositions. The statue depicts three figures connected by a serpentine-shaped movement. One man is lifting the woman in the air and the other man crouches below. The most fascinating thing about this sculpture is that it was carved from a single block of marble.

what to see at accademia gallery - Coronation of the Virgin by Jacopo Di Cione

Coronation of the Virgin

Artist: Jacopo di Cione

Year: 1372

Location: The Orcagna Room

The Coronation of the Virgin by Jacopo di Cione is another famous panel painting at the Accademia Gallery. Commissioned by the magistrates of the Mint, the painting is also referred to as the ‘Altarpiece of the Mint’. Coronation of the Virgin is heavily embellished with gold and inspires strong religious feelings. The abundant use of gold also makes the painting ‘glow’ from the base. The fabrics and drapery of each of the figures painted by Cione are incredibly detailed, and this adds to the overall impact of the painting. 

what to see at accademia gallery - Slaves by Michelangelo


Artist: Michelangelo

Year: 1520

Location: Hall of Prisoners

Another Michelangelo marvel that you can see at the Accademia Gallery is his famous Slaves sculptures. Each of these four unfinished statues has been given different names by scholars. They are known as the Awakening Slave, Young Slave, Bearded Slave, and Atlas or Bound. It is believed that Michelangelo deliberately did not complete these sculptures because he wanted them to symbolize the eternal struggle of human beings to free themselves from materialistic things.

what to see at accademia gallery - Tree of Life by Pacino di Buonaguida

Tree of Life

Artist: Pacino di Bonaguida

Year: Created between 1310-1315

Location: 13th and Early 14th-century Room on the Ground Floor

The Tree of Life by Pacino di Bonaguida (tempera on a wooden panel) depicts a complex tree-shaped cross which, according to the Apocalypse, represents Salvation and offers gifts to humankind. These ‘gifts’ are represented by the fruits painted alongside the twelve branches of the tree. The roundels hanging from each of the branches in the painting represent episodes from Christ’s life and his Passion and Glory.

Artworks in Accademia Gallery

Cassone Adimari

Artist: Lo Scheggia

Year: 1450

Location: Hall of the Colossus

Lo Scheggia’s Cassone Adimari was painted on the front panel of a wooden chest that is often used by brides to carry their belongings to their new house. Scheggia’s painting depicts an elegant wedding parade taking place in downtown Florence. The white and green building in the background is the Baptistry of St. John the Baptist. In the center of the painting, Scheggia painted noblemen and noblewomen dancing gracefully under a colorful drapery. The artist’s eye for refined detail can also be seen in the long Florentine garments adorned by the people. 

Artworks in Accademia Gallery


Artist: Narco di Cione

Year: 1365

Location: The Orcagna Room

The Trinity by Narco di Cione is one of the most famous artworks housed in the Accademia Gallery. The monumental depiction of the Trinity is inserted inside the central panel of a polyptych, surrounded by two Saints. This precious panel was originally painted for the Monastery of St. Mary of the Angels in Florence but eventually found its way to the Accademia Gallery. On either side of the main central cusp of the Trinity, Cione has painted two angels spreading incest, whereas the main cusp depicts the ‘Agnus Dei’-the symbol of human salvation.

Artworks in Accademia Gallery

Plaster Casts by Lorenzo Bartolini

Artist: Lorenzo Bartolini

Year: 19th century

Location: Gipsoteca Bartolini Hall

Most Russian, Polish, and English noble families requested busts from Lorenzo Bartolini, primarily because of his ability to express grace and beauty in his sculptures. You can admire these casts at the Gipsoteca Bartolini Hall in the Accademia Gallery in Florence. Not only do these plaster casts showcase how Florentine Art evolved from neoclassicism to romanticism, but they also showcase the nineteenth-century aesthetic that was characteristic of artworks made during this time. 

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What are some of the highlights at the Accademia Gallery?

Some of the must-see artworks at the Accademia Gallery in Florence include David by Michelangelo, Prisoners by Michelangelo, Coronation of the Virgin by Jacopo di Cione, Tree of Life by Pacino di Bonaguida, Rape of Sabines by Giambologna, Cassone Adimari by Lo Scheggia and Trinity by Narco di Cione. These artworks are considered masterpieces of Italian Renaissance art.

How long does it take to see the highlights of the Accademia Gallery?

The time it takes to see the highlights of the Accademia Gallery can vary depending on what your interests are and the amount of time you would spent on each artwork. However, you should be able to view all the highlights in approximately 1-2 hours.

How many works of Michelangelo are on display at the museum?

The Accademia Gallery in Florence displays the largest collection of Michelangelo’s works in the world. The museum is home to seven of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, including the statue of David

How can I see the artworks at Accademia Gallery?

You need to purchase tickets to Accademia Gallery in order to view the collection. You can either by them online in advance or buy them on-site at the ticket office. 

Is it necessary to book tickets in advance to see the highlights of the Accademia Gallery?

While you can buy tickets at the venue, it is highly recommended to book Accademia Gallery tickets in advance so that you can see the highlights of gallery without having to deal with the long lines in front of the ticketing counter or the disappointment of tickets selling out. 

How much time should I allocate to see Michelangelo's David at the Accademia Gallery?

Visitors spend around 15-30 minutes admiring and observing the iconic statue. However, during peak tourist season, there may be a wait to enter the room where David is displayed, so visitors may need to allocate additional time for this.

What is the best time of day to visit the Accademia Gallery?

The best time of day to visit the Accademia Gallery is early in the morning when it opens or later in the afternoon, close to closing time, which will allow visitors to enjoy the highlights at the Accademia Gallery without the crowds.